Democrats took control of the Nevada Senate in 2008, picking up two seats to gain a 12-9 majority. But with the electoral landscape tilting toward the GOP this year and the implementation of term limits, Republicans have hopes of reclaiming the upper house.
District 5 is perhaps the most closely watched race. Incumbent Democrat Joyce Woodhouse is fighting to keep her seat against Republican Michael Roberson.
Ms. Woodhouse, who spent 40 years as a teacher and administrator with the Clark County School District, did little to distinguish herself during her lone term in Carson City. So in an effort to save her foundering candidacy and keep this swing seat, the Democratic Party has poured thousands of dollars into misleading mailers attacking Mr. Roberson as anti-education.
Let’s hope this cynical strategy doesn’t work.
Mr. Roberson, an attorney who represents small businesses and commercial real estate interests, is eminently qualified. In this time of economic distress, he understands the damage raising taxes could do. "I think it’s about time someone in Carson City represents the private sector," he says.
Mr. Roberson, whose wife is a public schoolteacher, favors more choice in the public school system, merit pay for good educators and alternative certification to get more professionals into the classroom. He understands that the public sector’s constant growth is "unsustainable."
Ms. Woodhouse, on the other hand, would be an automatic vote for big government and offers no specifics on the budget other than to say we need to further "study" the tax issue.
Michael Roberson is the easy choice in this race.
In District 12, Republican Joe Hardy and Democrat Aaron Ford are seeking the seat vacated by the GOP’s Warren Hardy.
Mr. Hardy, an assemblyman since 2002, has a long record of leadership in the lower chamber. He understands that "until we get small business back, we’re not coming out of this recession." Along those lines, he supports repealing the payroll tax increase of 2009. Mr. Hardy’s background as a family physician helps him knowledgeably address health care matters, and he supports more charter schools and greater teacher accountability.
Mr. Ford, meanwhile, is a former award-winning schoolteacher who now practices law in Las Vegas. He says the state should live within its budget, but that there are "needs" which can’t be cut. Tax hikes, he says, must be a last resort.
On education, Mr. Ford notes that "success should be rewarded" and supports teacher accountability.
Mr. Ford is perhaps the most impressive new candidate of this political season. He has a bright future. But a 2011 Legislature with veto-proof Democratic majorities would be disastrous for Nevada’s future. We urge a vote for Joe Hardy.
In District 8, incumbent Barbara Cegavske, a Republican, looks to hold her seat against Democrat Tammy Peterson.
Ms. Peterson is an attorney and former prosecutor whose first priority is to "fund education." She opposes vouchers and offers only vague platitudes on the budget and taxes.
Ms. Cegavske has served in the Senate since 2003 and has long been a reliable advocate for taxpayers. She has a history of opposing tax hikes and a background in small business that gives her a leg up when it comes to formulating policies that lead to job creation. "I vote the way I think is right," she says.
Barbara Cegavske is the right choice in District 8.
District 9, formerly the seat of Republican Dennis Nolan, features Democrat Benny Yerushalmi against Elizabeth Halseth, who derailed the incumbent in a primary upset.
Mr. Yerushalmi has lived in Las Vegas most of his life, graduating from Clark High School. He has an MBA from UCLA and a law degree from Stanford. His family has been in the jewelry business for years, giving him first-hand knowledge of how regulation and taxation can affect job creation and business expansion. On the budget, Mr. Yerushalmi says the state must live within its means before even considering higher taxes.
Ms. Halseth is a political neophyte who would have a steep learning curve in Carson City.
Benny Yerushalmi deserves a shot in Carson City.
In District 7, Republican Tony Wright faces off against Democrat Mark Manendo, who was term-limited after 16 years in the Assembly, to replace term-limited Democrat Terry Care.
Mr. Wright is a registered nurse who has been in Las Vegas for a decade. He doesn’t have much money, but he does have a platform of limited government, low taxation, regulatory and tort reform and more competition for the public schools.
Mr. Manendo has served in Carson City since 1995. He’s an affable fellow who is always responsive to constituent needs, yet his legislative record is unremarkable except for his regular support for tax hikes.
Give somebody else a try. Vote for Tony Wright.
Long-time incumbent Democrat Bob Coffin was term-limited in District 10, leaving Republican Henry Tyler to face Democrat Ruben Kihuen, who has served two terms in the Assembly.
Mr. Kihuen cancelled an interview the day after it was reported that he no longer lives in his Assembly district.
Mr. Tyler, a former Marine and charter school teacher, describes himself as a fiscal conservative and social moderate. He says he’s "never in favor of raising taxes" and is a "fan of smaller government." He favors more competition in public education and vows to take an "honest, fair, subjective look" at issues before voting. We support Henry Tyler.